New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  It is 2013, and, as with every new year, it is a great time for resolutions.  Honestly, I hate the thought of a new years resolution.  So many of us fabulous human beings say we are going to change something in our life, but abandon the motivation to change within weeks of making the resolution.  How does one avoid this constant cycle year after year?  Follow these simple steps to success:

1)  Don’t set ONE BIG goal for the whole year.  When a person sets one big goal for the entire year it is a set-up for failure.

2)  Set smaller goals, like daily, weekly or monthly.  This will take you down the right path to be successful.

3)  Get a dry-erase board (or chalkboard, or piece of paper – whatever).  Write down your smaller goals.  For example, I use a dry-erase board and write down my small goals for the day (a new blog post is the last one on my list today;)

4)  Clear blocks or barriers for avoiding the completion of your goals.  These barriers are your problems and do not belong to anybody else.  Address them, face them, and get rid of them!

5)  Reward yourself.  Once you have reached your smaller goals give yourself a reward.  It can be something simple like a piece of gum or something big like a shopping spree!

Before you know it all your small goals will have added up to one big goal.  It is like a puzzle.  Take the time to put the pieces together.  If you take it slow, you will enjoy the achievement when you have completed the puzzle;)

2012 in review – Not bad for a few short months!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Kindergarten Taught Me All I Needed To Know…

A fun fact about me is that I start each day with a cup of coffee, the news, and my rocking chair.  While I rock in my chair and sip my coffee I hear words of hatred, death, and fighting on the newscast.  I ask myself “why do I want to watch the news each morning?  Is this really how I want to start my day?”  The answer is no, yet I continue to do it.  Am I hoping that one morning I will turn on the news and find that one country baked cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles for another country as a peace-offering?  Maybe.  I just wonder what life would be like if we remembered what we all learned in Kindergarten….

First, we learned how to play nice in the sandbox.  If you didn’t play nice – you didn’t get to play.  Throwing of sand, and taking of shovels was not permitted.  It was simple – you play mean = you don’t get to play.  You sat quietly outside the sandbox and watched the other children play.

Secondly, I truly believe the teachers were onto something with the nap time theory.  Young children (heck even adults) get cranky when they are tired.  When people are cranky they have a tendency to snap at or be rude to other people.  A well-rested individual is in much better spirits to play in the sandbox.  I am just saying….

Third, we had snack time.  This is really the same concept as above.  A full tummy is a happy person.  It is way more fun to play in the sandbox with a happy person.

Fourth, ALL the children’s art was beautiful.  There was no judgement.  Heck, I cut out an apple in Kindergarten that looked like a square, but boy did that apple look perfect to my teacher and parents! (My mom still has that apple).

And lastly, don’t eat paste (do they even still use paste)?  Some things may look appealing on the outside, but when you get into the goo of it all, it really just leaves a sour taste in your mouth.  Yes – I am referring to HATE and HATEFUL words.

So you see, life could be more simple if we all remembered what we learned in Kindergarten.

First day of school!!!

Prematurity Awareness Day

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day!  I just wanted to remind you all that you can help by donating to the March of Dimes, volunteering at your local hospital’s NICU, or by asking your local hospital how you can help.  Thank you to everyone who supported my husband and I during our three journey’s through the birth of our three premature babies.  They are strong and healthy “big” kids now!

Thanks for the support!

 

NICU Top Ten (in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month)

One important fun fact about me is that ALL 3 of my beautiful children were born prematurely.  Each year my family works hard to support the March of Dimes through the March for Babies, and by donating time and funds to the NICU Family Support Program at our local hospital.  Typically I like to use my blog to share fun ideas, thoughts, and my creative works.  Today I feel it is important to dedicate my blog to all the mom’s and dad’s of premature babies in honor of November being Prematurity Awareness Month. Being the mother of babies who has been in the NICU, and knowing the aspects of the NICU I felt that I needed to speak the truth, but mix in a little humor.

The NICU Top Ten According to Nikki:

1.  You are your child’s advocate.  Always be their voice because they cannot speak.

2.  No person will ever know what it is like to leave their baby in the hospital until it happens to you.  Nothing will make it better, and that is ok.

3.  After you leave the NICU any beeping sound creates instant panic within you – even if it is only a dump truck backing up.

4.  You are officially the best hand-washer and germ-buster in the area.

5.  When your baby is discharged from the NICU they should put “Dr.” in front of your name for all the medical terms and conditions you now know exist.

6.  You change your vision of the “perfect” birth and homecoming.  You realize it is perfect just to bring you baby home.

7.  You celebrate EVERY milestone of your baby.  Even if it is “just” the opening of the eyes.

8.  You are the best poopy diaper changer in town since you did it so long through tiny doors in the isolette, and around all the tubes hooked to your baby.

9.  Newborn diapers seem HUGE to you.

10.  You never have tangled up Christmas lights anymore – heck – you kept all your baby’s cords un-tangled in the NICU – why can’t you apply that to basic household items?

So there it is – what I learned from the NICU.  It has been almost 5 years since my last child was in the NICU, but it is an experience that you never forget.  Here is to my happy and health babies!

Please support The March of Dimes and celebrate World Prematurity Awareness Day on November 17, 2012!

Our family at the 2012 March for Babies. Those are my three peanuts growing up happy and healthy thanks to the NICU and the March of Dimes!

Your Life Journey

New chapters happen everyday in our lives.  I recently had  to close a chapter in my life – one that had been near and dear to me for many years.  People change and grow apart.  Human behavior can be analyzed, but never really explained.  When you find yourself at a crossroads in your life allow yourself time to celebrate the good times, keep the good memories close to your heart, and grieve what you have lost.  Move forward with strength and courage, knowing that you are on a journey through life.  You write your story – make it one worth reading.

The place where I renewed my wedding vows with my wonderful husband on Laguna Beach.

What Brings You Joy?

I was reading an article today and the author posed the question “what brings you joy?”  It caused me to pause for a moment, but it was only a moment before I rushed to grab my journal so I could to explore the vast question.  As I sat staring at the blank page of my journal I wondered if other people had ever really thought about this particular question.  I mean, we know what makes us happy, but joy is an entirely different emotion.  When I think of the word joy I picture myself bubbling over with happiness, being engulfed with laughter and feeling the emotion throughout my entire body.  Once I was able to envision myself being overtaken with joy I was able to easily list the things that bring me joy.  Some things were deep and meaningful such as snuggling with my children, and having a romantic dinner with my husband while others items were simple like having a latte by the fire and dancing.

Once I identified what brings me joy in my life I realized that some of the items on the list were things I was not doing!  Why would I not make time to create joy in my life?  Many of us do not take the time to live our life to the fullest.  We often dwell on the sad drama-driven events in our lives, and don’t take the time to celebrate the joys that we have each day.

I challenge you to create a list, or a visual journal page of what brings you joy.  Ask yourself: are you doing these joyful things or do you need more joy in your life?  What are you dwelling on that will not move you forward with your journey of life, but continue to keep you stuck in the mud?  Are you celebrating the “little” joys in your life?  Once you have identified what joys you need more of in your life create a plan on how you are going to integrate joy into your daily living.

Always live joyfully!  Could you imagine a world where everyone lived in joy?  It would be a world of feetie jammies, snuggles, and dancing!  Live joy-FULLY!

It brings me joy to pick out pumpkins each fall with my kids. This was many years ago, but still one of my favorite pics!

A Time for You

The feeling of fall – or should I say winter – hit today.  As I watched the leaves tumble about and fall freely from their mother branches I thought about how fall has always brought life changes for me.  I always have bittersweet feelings about fall.  It is a time of death for the vegetation, hibernation for the animals and cold for the air.  I am often sad to see summer come to an end, and know that the cold winter is on its way.  I use the fall season as a time of reflection and change.  I met the love of my life in the fall.  I became pregnant in the fall.  I gave birth in the fall.  Each fall season I am reminded to be with myself, welcome the changes that may come, say good-bye to parts of myself that have died, and discover aspects of myself have been in hibernation.  Be the tree that releases its leaves or the flower that looses its petals in anticipation of welcoming new in time.

My pumpkin purchase last year in the fall!

Teach Love and Respect – Not Hate and Hurts

In society there appears to be so much anger.  I determined today that I dislike the word “tolerance.”  Someone said today “I have taught my children tolerate gay people.”  Say what?  The definition of to tolerate something or someone means that you “allow the existence, occurrence or practice of something without interference” (Google.com).  First of all, who is anyone to “allow” something.  Each individual has the right to make their own choices, and they should not to worried about whether or not the person sitting next to them is “allowing it without interference.”  Seriously!  I feel that a better word is respect.  In society we should be teaching our children to live in a world where they respect and love one another – not hate and hurt each other.  We need to recognize that everyone has different beliefs, morals, values, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, etc.  We need to teach our children to be open to other people’s opinions.  Does that mean that they should change their beliefs.  No!  It just means that everyone should be allowed to speak freely, love freely and live freely without the fear of retaliation from another human.  We should not be “tolerating” – we should be RESPECTING.

My boys sharing the love!

Where’s the App to Unplug?

I spent last Friday night having a nice, quiet dinner with my wonderful husband followed by a whirlwind of craziness.  You see, my husband decided that he needed to obtain the new iPhone 5 that was released on, you guessed it, last Friday.  My husband went to the Apple store where he received the “golden ticket” ensuring that he would receive that shiny, new piece of technology.  He stood in line and waited for his turn to enter the store.  He was escorted into the store by an Apple “Genius” who retrieved his new phone, had it sold to him and activated all within 90 seconds.  As this whirlwind of fast sales was occurring I noticed that the store was packed with people, all wishing to meet the same goal – obtain the new iPhone 5.  This made me wonder….when did life start moving so fast????

Everywhere you look there is a person on their phone, checking their e-mail on their phone or engaging in some sort of social media on a mobile device!  What would life be like if we were all “unplugged” for a day?  Would we notice what direction the wind was blowing naturally instead of using the weather application?  Would there be less misunderstandings because people would actually talk face to face instead of misinterpreting e-mails?

Before you reach for that phone, tablet or computer take a look around you.  Enjoy the view.  Smell the roses.  Watch children play.  They are really the ones who have it all figured out.  They play in their worlds all day – never once worrying about social media.  We are the ones who ruin that for them – the adults – because of our constant use of mobile devices.  Watch the essence of a child and try to re-gain that in yourself by “unplugging” for a day…or a weekend…or a week….